Land-based investments can create significant grievances for local individuals or communities, and host governments seeking to address those grievances must navigate a complicated landscape of legal obligations and pragmatic considerations. This 39-page report and 6-page briefing note, both funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development, focus on practical solutions for governments confronting grievances that arise from large-scale investments in agricultural or forestry projects.
They consider such solutions in the context of governments’ legal obligations, particularly those imposed by international investment law, international human rights law, and investor-state contracts. Understanding the implications of this diverse range of legal obligations is particularly important in light of investors’ growing recourse to international investment arbitration, which can expose a government to liability under an international investment treaty for actions that may be in the best interest of a country and its citizens. Analyzing such obligations is a useful first step for a government seeking to protect its citizens against the negative impacts of land-based investments.
Accompanying the report and briefing note is a detailed training module, which includes presentation slides, accompanying notes, and group exercises drawing on hypothetical scenarios of land grievances.
Employment creation is often seen as a key benefit of investment in natural resources. However, this benefit sometimes falls short: job estimates may be inflated, governmental policies may fail to maximize employment generation, and, in some cases, investments may lead to net livelihood losses. A more thorough examination of employment tied to mining and agricultural investments is thus useful for assessing whether and how employment from natural resource investments contributes to sustainable economic development—a particularly timely topic as countries consider how they will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.
This report aims to clarify the processes and impacts of job creation driven by large-scale mining and agricultural investments, and to suggest how policies can improve employment outcomes. A deeper understanding of the topic helps policymakers, citizens, and others assess employment claims made in the context of investment in mining or large-scale agricultural projects. It also presents governments with a difficult task: developing approaches that are aligned with best practices but fine-tuned to local contexts, and which improve the direct, indirect, and induced job creation outcomes of investments while addressing the disparate needs and expectations of both investors and citizens. Although complicated, such efforts are important for ensuring that the expected employment benefits of such investments do indeed materialize.